Andre Benjamin. Andre 3000. 3K. Three Stacks. Whatever name you decide to call him by, Andre 3000 has been a source of debate in recent years regarding his standing among top MCs in the game. While some think he’s undeniably one of the top five or top ten, others feel he has not achieved enough as a solo artist to warrant that ranking.
My feeling on it is that Andre 3000 is indeed a great MC solely based on contributions to Outkast LPs and what he has contributed to other people’s work. Some of his features are better than some rappers’ whole albums and that’s not even all that disputable. What I do think is that Andre 3000 needs to put out a solo LP or even a mixtape and prove what his fans have been saying for years. This of course leads into the discussion of whether or not the artist owes the public anything…something that has been rehashed in the cases of Lauryn Hill and Dr. Dre ad nauseum. But just for the sake of discussion, I do think that it’s unfair for Andre to be held to the same standards as other MCs when he has yet to release a rap album (Love Below was dope in its own right but is not a rap album and we’re talking about MCs) totally geared toward his own style. While it’s understandable that “shaking the vending machine” isn’t a means of forcing quality work out of an artist, to some degree an artist has an obligation to his fans. I’ve seen guys fight tooth and nail to argue Andre 3000 over this or that rapper, only to be constantly set on his ass with the argument “but where is his solo LP though?” It’s rather unfortunate.
Personally, I don’t need any rankings or hierarchies to determine who I like. One MC may not technically be better than another, but they might just make better music. There are artists who remain in some people’s top five lists that I have never been interested in hearing one word out of, and that’s fine. With Andre 3000, it would be nice to hear a full album, but I’m also good with the classics I have already.